Sonic The Hedgehog #117 Review by True Red
Five words: Best issue of the year.

The rest of this review will just explain why.

The cover hints at the Sonic story, but is definitely the least impressive thing about the entire issue for once. The splash page features people I didn't expect to see--Knuckles and Mammoth Mogul. Wonderful page, colored by Jason Jensen (who colored everything other than the cover). Jensen gets mentioned because he's currently the best colorist at Archie, in my opinion. #117 was only the second issue he's done, but when he's coloring, everyone else's work looks a million times better. Hopefully he becomes a regular.

"Cyber Race!"
Writer: Karl Bollers
Penciler: Steven Butler
Inker: Nelson Ribeiro
If you ever wanted to know what happens to Robotnik and Snively when their bodies are destroyed, this humorous little story tells you. The two are stranded in cyberspace trying to find a way back to Mobius. This is Snively's first time though so he's not as aware of the dangers as Robotnik who ends up diverting the anti-virus program from attacking Snively. Snively ends up back in Mobius in a new, tall body. Noticing Robotnik didn't make it, he decides to give himself a paint job so that he looks real good and plans to take over. However, just as he finishes his paint job, Robotnik returns and knocks Snively down a peg saying "This operation's only big enough for one ego. Mine."

Rating: Rings

This story was short and funny. Steven Butler has always been one of my favorite artists and in this story, he showed why I consider him one of the best Archie has ever had.

"The Tortoise and the Hedgehog"
Writer: Romy Chacon
Penciler: Art Mawhinney
Inker: Jim Amash
Starting off the story, there's a yellow rabbit narrating. This rabbit has been searching for the factory for awhile that he's finally reached. Ringing the doorbell, he's expecting Tommy, but ends up being greeted by the Fearsome Foursome, Drago, and Sleuth as well. Drago tells the rabbit to leave or he'll be "dinner," but Tommy says that he invited the rabbit who is his friend. That causes everyone to laugh figuring that "a geek like" Tommy wouldn't have any friends. The rabbit goes on to say how he used to pick on Tommy because Tommy was so slow and he was so fast, but Tommy challenged him to a race and won since the rabbit went to sleep near the finish line. Tommy earned the rabbit's respect that day for his determination. Tommy is actually slightly surprised at that though. Drago doesn't care because the "meeting" is pretty soon, but the rabbit promises not to get in the way. Sleuth offers the rabbit a room to stay in, but says that Tommy can't stay as Sleuth and Tommy go to join the others.

Now that the "rabbit" is alone, Sonic takes off his rabbit costume figuring something is wrong and relating how Sally got Tommy's call for help. Sonic and Sally had both known Tommy when they were kids, but Sonic always bullied him until that race they had. However, the race occurred the day before Robotnik staged his coup and no one had ever heard from Tommy since that day until now. Sonic didn't wait for the rest of the Freedom Fighters since he felt he owed it to Tommy for bullying him as a kid and the fact that Tommy made him realize that he should help others instead of picking on them.

Sonic decides to crawl through the ventilation shaft to find out what's going on and finds Robotnik and Snively are the ones everyone is meeting. The group thinks that they're meeting with the Robotnik of this zone, and are totally unaware that this particular Robotnik has recently acquired the ability to roboticize by touch. Drago who was the mastermind of sorts of the deal that was supposedly being made, was the first to find out when he shook hands to make it official. Not planning on having Drago be his only servant, Robotnik roboticizes the Fearsome Foursome as well, but Sleuth holds up Tommy and says that he actually has something Robotnik would be interested in if Robotnik would just roboticize the turtle. Robotnik doesn't see the point, but decides that he'll do it. That's when Sonic reveals himself and we find out Sleuth got Tommy to bring Sonic. Sonic is too fast for Robotnik to roboticize anyway and he takes Tommy from Sleuth as well and makes a break for it using Tommy's shell as a semi-skateboard on a conveyor belt. Robotnik orders everyone to get Sonic, but decides he's going to have to roboticize Sleuth since he can't get Sonic. In an act of desperation, Sleuth takes out a grenade and throws it since if he had to go, he wasn't going alone. Sonic couldn't see that from his vantage point, but Tommy did. They were close to the window, but not there yet. Tommy felt it was his fault Sonic was there and bumped Sonic out the window just before the grenade went off blowing up the entire factory. Outside, Sonic just watches the fire thinking about how Tommy showed him the meaning of friendship.

Rating: Rings

Romy Chacon was VERY impressive in her debut. An easy-going story, yet not dumbed down and no corny puns that have plagued Benny Lee's stories. Mawhinney does a nice job with the art and maybe I'll start liking his attempt at SA-style Sonic.

"Ultimate Power, Part 3"
Writer & Inker: Ken Penders
Penciler: Dawn Best
In the this Knuckles installment, Knuckles and the Chaotix are meeting Remington at the hospital since a cabbie was found critically injured. When the group walks in, the Chaotix instantly recognize Harry to Knuckles' surprise and Espio explains how they all met Harry. Knuckles uses his chaos powers to heal Harry a bit, while Espio tells Mighty he still wishes that Knuckles was his "old self" instead.

Meanwhile, Mogul and Dimitri continue their chit chat as they explain why they've both done the things they've done. Dimitri because he felt he was in the right, Mogul because survival is the only thing that matters in the world.

In the hospital, Harry has just finished telling everyone what he knows though I agree with Vector on the point that they didn't need Harry to know that Mogul is setting up a trap. Since Mogul wants Knuckles, Remington figures that the EST should lead the counterattack, but Knuckles disagrees as he teleports out of the hospital.

Monitoring the situation elsewhere, Gae-Na informs Kommissar that Knuckles vanished. Kommissar wonders what she should do since if Knuckles saves Dimitri, the Legion would owe Knuckles--something she knows Kragok would never forgive her for allowing to happen. However, she also promised Dimitri that she wouldn't do anything to Knuckles. Kommissar though is reminded by Gae-Na's question that if Mogul beats Knuckles, Mogul would be the biggest threat and it would take everything to stop him. Still, Kommissar makes the decision to wait to see what Knuckles does before making her next move.

Knuckles has found Mogul, but Mogul reveals his hand. Mogul wants Knuckles to agree to have the chaos syphon used on him or else Mogul will disconnect Dimitri from life support by the push of a button. To be concluded.

Rating: 1/2 Rings

Finally, this story began to go somewhere. Credit for this theory goes to Aurelia le who put the idea into my head back when she read some spoilers from Sonic #116 posted on the message board here. It's plain as day that Knuckles is going to "die." The mood was totally set-up for it. I put die in quotes, because he'll come back to life eventually. Knuckles was killed once before back in Knuckles #8-9 for a little while too so it has been sort of done before. This one will just last a little longer and everyone will actually know about it unlike last time when only Athair & the Ancient Walkers knew. Ken didn't do too bad on the art. The mixture of Dawn's art with Ken's was pretty good this time around.

Great stories and great art in all of them for the first time in a very long time. That's what made the issue stand out so much. May this somehow become more of a trend instead of a rarity.

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